Matt Cutts, of Google fame, recently spoke at WordCamp gathering for WordPress blog enthusiasts (like Matt himself, who blogs with WordPress rather than Google’s excellent blogging product “Blogger”).
This blog post points to Matt’s PowerPoint and several other sources for summaries of this presentation.
Matt’s view on SEO is important because most experts would suggest that he’s probably the most knowlegeable search expert *in the world* and is one of the few search engineers who is privy to basically all of Google’s Algorithmic secrets. Also, in my opinion Matt is honest and straightforward with advice, and therefore if he’s suggesting an SEO approach you are well advised to take it. I should note though that this view is not shared by some of the elite SEO people who seem to think Matt will sometimes “misdirect” people to protect the precious Google Algorithm.
My comment over there was:
Excellent post and links here Matt.
However I have a “beef” with the emphasis on linkbaiting and basic SEO as good ways to rise in the ranks (they ARE, but should not be). I’d argue that in an ideal search environment SEO would have effectively *zero* effect on ranks (because it’s communicating with the bot not the user), and linkbaiting things would have only a minor effect unless they were highly relevant to the query.
We now see a lot of SERPS where you see a bunch of sites, all similar, ranked more according to how their SEO, history, links, structure match Google’s expectations rather than how a user would view them. Google generally argues that these are essentially the same but they are probably only roughly correlated.
The fix for this would be greater transparency in the ranking process combined with greater penalties for being deceptive. If Google is going to aggressively defend the integrity of the algorithm the ranking process should be more accessible, especially to mom and pops who will increasingly flirt with disaster as they try to find ranking advantages.